Earlier this week, I headed down to the Home, Top Drawer and Crafts Show at London’s Earls Court to bring you the newest product launches and must-have home products for 2014. With over 800 British and international exhibitors, there was plenty on offer – yet it was easier than ever to spot trends. While I arrived believing that I had a solid understanding of what type of products would be lining our shelves this year, there were a few surprises along the way!
Bold, graphic prints
Taking inspiration from the latest fashion designs, florals in homeware were expected to turn edgy, being teamed with graphic prints as opposed to the pretty, twee designs that we’ve seen in the past. David Barnes, working in the Sales department of Creative Tops, explained that his tableware and kitchenware company is always on the hunt for the quirky and so this year, they have teamed up with different designers to produce two new ranges. One involves Iza Pearl’s work on graphic floral plates and saucers and the other is a fun kitchen range with Kizmos which leans towards the novelty. Vibrant measuring spoons and whisks take on floral shapes in order to brighten up the kitchen.
In a stroke of pure coincidence, this year marks the 50th anniversary of Marimekko’s iconic poppy print, giving the company reason to promote it in a big way. Maria White, Sales Manager of Marimekko, explained to me that at first, the company’s designer was under strict instructions to steer clear from florals when designing a new print because “they weren’t very Marimekko”. Luckily for us, she refused to listen and came back with a floral design with graphic appeal – the likes of which saw their popularity skyrocket.
Despite the edgy florals from Creative Tops and Marimekko however, the real trend this year seems to be for bolder, graphic prints – whether that’s florals or otherwise. Geometric prints were back in full force, with the likes of Seven Gauge Studios offering knitted lamb’s wool cushions in the ever-popular yellow and grey colour scheme and emerging designer Melissa Davin-Smith carrying on the daring approach with her statement zig zag lampshade prints propping up the Heart Home stand.
Embracing fixtures and fittings
For many months now, we’ve been vocal about our love of form and function, as we began celebrating all manner of fixtures and fittings from hanging lights to exposed wires and plug sockets. Fans will love that the celebration has been extended into 2014. Plumen 002 showcased their lightbulbs on cord, as did Danish company Living by colors in a much brighter way – however, it was La Cachaca that stole the show.
Company founder and designer Alejandra Ospina has created a bespoke range which makes use of our unwanted items and puts them to new use in the home lighting market. You’ll find milk and fermenting bottles surrounding lightbulbs, alongside upholstery springs. As she explains, “one day I was taking a chair apart and saw the upholstery springs”, while she also grew tired of seeing her empty milk bottles piled up on one of her countertops. Her focus has always been to reuse household materials and turn them into something unique and beautiful for the home.
The illustrator’s blues
If you’re doubting the impact that blue will have on our interiors, let me persuade you otherwise. The shade of choice was the traditional royal blue, depicted in Blue dot pottery’s china, Efie’s large blue lattice chequered cushions, Lsa international’s Ink and Linen tableware ranges and Louise Wilkinson’s Blue Willow jugs, mugs and wall art. Each design seemed to capture the magic of storytelling, and this didn’t change with exhibitors such as The Rainy Day Trust, who chose to be more experimental with a wider range of colour hues. Their string light design has an artist’s flare.
For Louise Wilkinson, it was second nature to apply the technique to her Blue Willow patterns, thanks to a strong illustrator’s background which has seen her designs appeal to the V&A museum in central London.
For many companies, moody, inky blues and greens dominate their ranges, whereas for Seven Gauge Studios, blue is just one of many tastes catered for with their two new prints encompassing both blue and yellow and grey and depicted on their cushions and throws.
Where navy blue was shunned, lighter blues and greens took their place, with Nordic wholesale company Bloomingville pairing light pastels with geometric shapes and Piet Hein Eek’s collection for Pad (ambassador for 20th Century art, design and decorative arts), mixing light blue jugs, bowls and egg holders with their grey and cream counterparts. Interior accessories company, Chive opted for a similar shade of blue along with pale green for their earthy hanging containers demonstrating the versatility of such a scheme. Whether you’re looking for something to eat off of or a place to hang your plants, this year those blues and greens from light blue and navy blue all the way through to turquoise will satisfy.
Copper shows no sign of waning just yet, popping up most often in light shades. For me, Apollo won the best stand award with their dazzling display endorsing their build your own aluminium light system, in shades of aluminium, copper, blue grey and dark grey. You can pick a four tier copper light, or mix one copper layer with this season’s blue and grey tones for a more striking four part finish.
Bloomingville’s approach was more experimental with copper pendant and pendel lamps accompanying breadbaskets, decorative trays, honeycomb shaped wall shelving, wall mirrors and coffee tables. Here, there were no room limitations.
If you’ve recently remodelled your kitchen, you can stick to copper in the hallway with a wall mounted mirror providing the perfect accompaniment to a wooden banister. By mixing metallics with wood, geometrics, pastels and dip-dye, we can see how different materials can come together to create a well-designed room to take us through to winter. In summer, there’s the option to add in extra pastels, while the latter half of the year could see us swap them for darker faux fur rugs and invest more heavily in wooden elements.